House Republicans slash funding that would help fight Ebola

Ebola has killed over 2,200 people in the largest outbreak in history

Published September 9, 2014 9:01PM (EDT)

                                        (<a href='url to photographer'>Festa</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(Festa via Shutterstock)

The White House recently requested $88 million to go towards fighting and containing the Ebola virus. Great news! After the U.N. recently said that it would take $600 million to tackle the crisis, with health care professionals getting infected due to equipment shortages and the dead being improperly disposed of (or not disposed of at all) the governments of Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone could use all the help they can get.

Turns out, House Republicans slashed the government spending bill, and will now provide less than half of what was originally requested. The Hill reports:

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) agreed as of Tuesday morning to spend a total of $40 million to fight the epidemic in the 2015 spending bill.

This would include $25 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $15 million for the Biological Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to ramp up production of an experimental anti-Ebola drug, the source said...

A spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee would not confirm the numbers, saying the details of the bill are not yet finalized.

BARDA is responsible for coordinating the U.S.' response to public health crises, including testing, drug development and other services associated with "public health and medical consequences of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) accidents, incidents and attacks, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases."

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the worst epidemic of all time, responsible for 2,296 deaths out of at least 4,293 cases.

By Joanna Rothkopf

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